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Strategic Conceptual Engineering for Epistemic and Social Aims

In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-124 (2020)

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  1. Is Haslanger’s Ameliorative Project a Successful Conceptual Engineering Project?Mark Pinder - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-22.
    Supporters of conceptual engineering often use Haslanger’s ameliorative project as a key example of their methodology. However, at face value, Haslanger’s project is no cause for optimism about conceptual engineering. If we interpret Haslanger as seeking to revise how people in general use and understand words such as ‘woman’, ‘man’, etc., then her project has been unsuccessful. And if we interpret her as seeking to reveal the meaning of those words, then her project does not involve conceptual engineering. I develop (...)
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  • The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  • Deflating the Functional Turn in Conceptual Engineering.Jared Riggs - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11555-11586.
    Conceptual engineers have recently turned to the notion of conceptual functions to do a variety of explanatory work. Functions are supposed to explain what speakers are debating about in metalinguistic negotiations, to capture when two concepts are about the same thing, and to help guide our normative inquiries into which concepts we should use. In this paper, I argue that this recent “functional turn” should be deflated. Contra most interpreters, we should not try to use a substantive notion of conceptual (...)
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  • Defective Food Concepts.Andrea Borghini, Nicola Piras & Beatrice Serini - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12225-12249.
    Our aim in this paper is to employ conceptual negotiation to inform a method of rethinking defective food concepts, that is concepts that fail to suitably represent a certain food-related domain or that offer representations that run counter to the interests of their users. We begin by sorting out four dimensions of a food concept: the data upon which it rests and the methodology by which those data are gathered; the ontology that sustains it; the social acts that serve to (...)
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  • Explications for Engineering.Samantha Wakil - 2020 - Dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    The conservative idea that it is a philosopher’s job to clarify common sense beliefs about ordinary concepts is being weeded out from the population and replaced by a revisionist agenda: philosophers should not merely describe but also analyze and suggest ways to improve our concepts. This project is called "conceptual engineering." The conceptual engineering literature is growing rapidly as more philosophers undertake normative conceptual work. However, many philosophers are practicing conceptual engineering untethered to an explicit methodology. Analyses addressing how we (...)
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  • How to Study Well-Being: A Proposal for the Integration of Philosophy with Science.Michael Prinzing - 2021 - Review of General Psychology 25 (2):152-162.
    There are presently two approaches to the study of well-being. Philosophers typically focus on normative theorizing, attempting to identify the things that are ultimately good for a person, while largely ignoring empirical research. The idea is that empirical attention cannot be directed to the right place without a rigorous theory. Meanwhile, social scientists typically focus on empirical research, attempting to identify the causes and consequences of well-being, while largely ignoring normative theorizing. The idea is that conceptual and theoretical clarity will (...)
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  • Post-Truth Conceptual Engineering.Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1–16.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. Some have recently claimed that the implementation of such method in the form of ameliorative projects is truth-driven and should thus be epistemically constrained, ultimately at least (Simion 2018; cf. Podosky 2018). This paper challenges that claim on the assumption of a social constructionist analysis of ideologies, and provides an alternative, pragmatic and cognitive framework for determining the legitimacy of ameliorative conceptual projects overall. The upshot is that one should (...)
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